Darren Wilson / Michael Brown shooting, Ferguson MO

On Saturday, August 9 at 12:01 p.m., 28-year-old Darren Wilson confronted 18-year-old Michael Brown. According to press reports, Brown was walking down the middle of a street; Wilson was in his police car. Reports conflict as to what happened next, but three minutes later Brown was dead, his body riddled with six gun shots.

His body lay in the street for more than 4 hours.

Media organizations have reported widely:

  • Ferguson has a population of about 21,000, of which about 60% are black
  • Ferguson has 53 police officers; only three are black
  • Although 9-out-of-10 searches and car stops involved blacks, only 1-in-5 were carrying contraband. Of the other 1-in-10 stops involving whites, 1-in-3 were carrying contraband.

Those stats reinforce a perception of the St. Louis community as being unjustly segregated.

On November 24, 2014, a St. Louis county grand jury (nine white jurors, three black, already empaneled at the time of the shooting) failed to indict Wilson on any charge.

In August, I wrote:

The injustices highlighted in Ferguson are not confined to Ferguson. Nor will they be resolved by random acts of violence. They might not even be resolved by time.

  • The DOJ needs to set policy guidelines for police department composition
  • Congress needs to curtail DHS grants and Pentagon give-aways.

There’s no guarantee that removing firepower will reduce an individual’s knee-jerk reaction, one that could easily snuff out an innocent life. But if it’s gone, you can’t use it nor can it affect your general sense of fear or power.

My work:


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